Taking Play Seriously Make An Enquiry Design ideas

How Many Play Spaces Should a School Have?

One of the key mantras in the Finnish education system is “The work of a child is to play”. In fact, a child’s right to play is recognised in the United Nations Human Rights Convention on the Rights of the Child (Article 31, Nov. 1989)

Overcrowding in school playgrounds can lead to staggered play times, potential for conflict and lack of access to play facilities.

With increasing recognition that play is a legitimate and essential component of school learning, schools need to carefully consider how they cater for the play needs of their students.

Teachers now recognise the emotional, physical and cognitive benefits of play that translate directly to their classroom activity. Play activities and active learning opportunities offer an easy way for teachers to encourage their students to spend more time moving and less time sitting. Active games help to develop motor skills, language skills and social interaction. Stimulating playgrounds have been shown to boost children’s attention spans, improve performance and increase self-esteem.

The amount of play equipment and the number of play areas that a school requires will depend on several factors including:

For a primary school with children ranging in age from 5 years to 13 years, the key is to provide enough challenge for older children while allowing access for younger children. Clever playground designers can create multi-age play equipment which incorporate into one playground equipment for both needs. For example, structures that provide easy access to small children while including challenging activities for taller and older children.

Within the school, it is important to provide enough variety and diversity in play spaces so that children are engaged throughout their breaks from the classroom.

“It’s important that all children of all ages
have equal access to playground equipment.”

Glenn Kelsey – Design Director, adventure+

Normally, at least two playgrounds will be required but this may vary in some circumstances. The larger the school, the more vital it is to provide age-appropriate areas for junior and senior pupils. For very large schools, it is ideal to provide a prep/kindy play area as well.  This is not to do with risk, but is more about giving all children equal access to playground equipment.

Obviously, schools have individual requirements so each school will come to its own conclusions on how many play areas to include.

However, we have provided a table below showing our recommendations for typical schools by enrolment and age group.

Table of Playground Area Requirements

Need help deciding how many play spaces your school needs?

Our playground design consultants can advise you on the number of playgrounds you may require at your school, as well as provide guidance on all aspects of playground design, including age appropriate and inclusive play. As both designers and manufacturers of outdoor play equipment, adventure+ ensures that you will receive a playground that keeps your students engaged, active and complies with Australian Standards.

Call us today on 1300 237 587 to speak to one of our consultants.

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